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One can only hope, Adrian. Unfortunately, in the Territory and I suspect elsewhere, aboriginal voters of the last two generations have been convinced that only the Labor party has their interests at heart and naturally most vote accordingly.

Surely it isn't simply a question of which party the indigenous population votes for, but rather what is done to improve the situation by whatever government is in power? ASTIC's dissolution does appear to have been a long time coming, but there should be some follow-up, both from within the community and from government, or else the aborigines are left floundering, without the support necessary to get a leg up. Eliminating welfare is, I think, heartless, as it is the burden of a civilised society to help its less powerful members, to aide those who otherwise lack resources to help themselves. Effective welfare reform, however, is surely worthwhile. From what I've seen, the social safety net in place in Australia, leaving aside whatever anyone thinks of what the Liberal government has been doing to it, is a robust and effective tool. It could stand some modernisation, inarguably. Subsidised housing, Medicare, "work-for-the-dole", new start allowances . . . these seem to work pretty well, so it appears to me that integrating aborigines more fully into these structures is worthwhile. There are also examples to be drawn on from Canada's indigenous policy reforms and even some areas of the U.S.'s policies regarding Native Americans, though by no means all. Labor vs Liberal seems irrelevant. Action is essential, which is what I think you were getting at.

I don't see it as a national disgrace, I think it's a disgrace on a small part of our population. Before I (hypocritically) wenyt out on the drink on Friday night there was an item on SBS about a couple of interns being assigned to Mornington Is (I think) and being apalled at the conditions of the place- conditions largely caused by the residents. They were talking to one of the local civil leaders, and their front yard was full of assorted litter and detritus- she then proceded to complain about the poor health of residents. If people can't or won't attend to the most basic personal hygiene it's no wonder they are sick and dying young. It's about time white Australia stopped beating itself up over people who refuse to help themselves. There are many Aboriginies who hold jobs, own and maintain their properties and generally have the same living standards as their anglo neighbours; there's plenty of white trash who will sit on their arse in their own filth if paid to do so as well; some people are lazy and feckless, and colour has nothing to do with it. Thirty years of pandering has achieved a decline in every measure of well being- maybe it's time for some stick along with the carrot. Imagine the gnashing odf teeth from the welfare industry that would accompany such measures. Worthwhile just for that outcome. I await villification as an uncaring nazi.

^Greg. Don't get me wrong :-) I'm the last to turn to politics - imho the blame is pretty equally shared. The reality, though, is that it's an easy cop out all 'round, for EVERYONE involved - the local people distrust the current Feds, and the various state Labor govs say the Feds won't give them enough funding!! Change the names around to suit whichever party is in power federally - and you have the perfect bureaucratic closed loop :-))

Thanks for the interesting site...enjoying your experiences ...what a pity more people do not get the chance to see human nature in all its aspects. Frank

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